[OPE-L:2256] Re: : value-form theories

From: Michael J Williams (michael@williamsmj.screaming.net)
Date: Thu Jan 20 2000 - 18:38:26 EST

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----- Original Message -----
From: riccardo bellofiore <bellofio@cisi.unito.it>
To: Michael J Williams <mike.williams@dmu.ac.uk>; OPE-L
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2000 11:35 AM
Subject: [OPE-L:2251] Re: value-form theories

> I would appreciate the shortest answer you may give for 'why *labour* in
> the abstract labour theory of value?'.

Because 'labour' is Marx's answer to the question How does M => (M + dM)
occur? And I agree with that.

>The reference to Classical Political
> Economy is worrying me. Smith has the idea that labour is the source of
> value, because labour is the *active* element in production,

That is right as far as it goes
>in whatever
> mode of production.

But that is not, because Value is a category specific to capitalism.
This cannot be Marx's perspective (I hold with
>I would like to
> understand how the systematic dialectical presentation explain why labour
> is the source of *value*, a statement which I hold is valid *only* in
> capitalism.

And so does VFT

> My difficulty of course is to understand how it is possible to
> have 'labour' in the theory of value without labour as the substance of
> value.

Could you explain briefly what you mean by 'labour is the *substance* of

> while I understand that
> you and Geert dissociate now from labour as the substance of value.

I'm not sure about Geert, beyond that I think he is of the view that
'substance' in any rigorous sense is an inappropriate term in the context of
value-theory. In several recent posts I have explained why imo value is a
predicate, a property, and so it must be a property *of* something, and that
something is the Commodity. A property can not have a substance, it can only
be the property of a substance, and you are obviously not claiming that
Value is a property of abstract labour.

> So
> don't think I am derogatory towards any of the surnames I've done.

Neither do I. What I said was misplaced and flat-footed irony. Forget it.
> the idea in Marx that exploitation arises at the
> intersection of the labour market and immediate production, and is only
> actualized in exchange

I agree with this idea, as does, I guess VFT in all its guises

>value is constituted (only) in
> exchange, without nothing 'substantial' before

This is not my view, nor, imo, that of VFT.

Comradely greetings

Dr Michael Williams
Economics and Social Sciences
De Montfort University
Milton Keynes
fax: 0870 133 1147
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